Network Cabling Designs Allow for Greater Flexibility and Cost Savings

When I work with clients on their cabling needs for telephone systems and data networks, one of my primary goals is to design the voice and data cabling infrastructure in a fashion that allows the client more flexibility for future additions, moves and changes. Unfortunately we can’t always anticipate the rate of growth and day-to-day operational changes, although we can proactively cable our infrastructure to be flexible when change is necessary.

I have a client, a home developer, who recently relocated there regional corporate office to a new location. The Client has a corporate out-of-state IT staff and a local IT manager who was faced with a cabling dilemma. Their current telephone system and data network used different cable types and each system was installed in two different rooms. This situation created increased costs when moving personnel, or simply moving fax or modem lines within the office because it required coordinating the event with their telecom equipment provider. The IT manager also wanted to be ready to implement Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology when their corporate IT department would allow.

We redesigned the cabling infrastructure. The new cabling now terminates on rack mounted patch panels in 19” computer racks in a centralized area and uses the same type of cable (Category 6) for each application. The Category 6 offers the capability to handle high-end data applications for future applications. Data patch cords were used to connect all devices to the station cables which allow the IT Manager to make changes anytime. Personnel office moves or technology device changes can be made in a matter of moments and in the timeframe staff requires.

Installing the telephone and data systems in the same room allows for future growth and hardware upgrades much more flexible. The up front costs to cable everything in this fashion cost about 10-20% higher then cabling with Category 3 for telephones and Category 6 for the data network. The long-term savings from vendor costs (on average $100/hour for tech time) to make simple changes or moves, not to mention the savings in consolidating into one central location make for a successful return on investment. This home-developer is also now set for future technology advancements, such as VoIP.

Therefore, if your company is considering re-cabling to accommodate new technology, or moving to a new facility, it can be advantageous to include a full review of your cabling as part of your strategic plan.